Sunday, March 8, 2015

SUNDAY: Mountain West teams conclude busy weekend of action

The weekend concluded around the Mountain West and Fresno State completed its juggernaut of a high-profile weekend against two more nationally-ranked powers.  After facing No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Oregon Saturday, the Bulldogs Sunday met 2014 Women's College World Series semi-finalist Baylor (ranked 9th) and 8-time NCAA champion Arizona (ranked 13th).  San Diego State played two, including an odd finale.  Boise State and Utah State both played in Boise, where the hosts suffered a stunning meltdown in extra innings.  And New Mexico, UNLV and Colorado State hosted home tourneys.

No. 9 Baylor 9, Fresno State 3 - The Bulldogs pounded out 11 hits, but stranded 12 base runners and left a slew of runners in scoring position in a loss to the 9th-ranked Bears.  It was a case of missed opportunities for Fresno State, which left the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings.  No inning was worse than the sixth when the Bulldogs got a run-scoring double from Chase LeeHong, and loaded the bases with no outs but couldn't add another run.  Meanwhile, Baylor took advantage of its opportunities.  A 0-0 game in the third quickly became 5-0 on a grand slam off Hannah Harris.  Taylor Langdon and Kiley Shae Aldridge closed out the game, with Langdon preventing further damage in the third, and Aldridge pitching particularly well, allowing just one earned run in the final three frames.  Fresno State committed its fifth infield error over the last two days.  Paige Gumz had three hits, and she combined with Brenna Moss and Malia Rivers to go 7-for-12 in the game.  Moss now has six hits in three games versus No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Oregon and the No. 9 Bears this weekend.  Baylor, which advanced to the semifinals of the Women's College World Series last season and already owns a win over second-ranked Oregon this year, is now 14-5.

No. 13 Arizona 7, Fresno State 1 - In a somewhat similar continuation from their first game of the day, the Bulldogs had multiple chances but couldn't capitalize.  Six of Arizona's seven runs came with two outs in an inning and the Wildcats broke on top in the second on a 2-out, 3-run homer by Lauren Young.  In a game where the difference in hits was just three (Arizona had 9, Fresno State 6), the lopsided score was reflected in 2-out hits.  The Wildcats hit .400 (4-for-10) with two outs.  The Bulldogs: .000 (0-for-7).  Fresno State scored on an RBI single from Brenna Moss in the fifth, and had the bases loaded with just one out and the tying run at bat, but couldn't add another run.  The Bulldogs stranded eight more base runners, giving them an astonishing 20 left on base for the day.  Fresno State hit .133 (2-for-15) with runners on base against the Wildcats.  Brenna Moss completed an amazing weekend that should solidify conference player of the week honors, especially when considering the level of opposition the Bulldogs faced.  Moss had a pair of hits in this one and hit .571 at the Judi Garman Classic (8-for-14) with an on-base percentage of .607 (11-for-17), with three walks, two doubles, three runs and three stolen bases versus All-SEC, All-Pac-12 and All-American pitching and four of the nation's top 13-ranked teams.  Moss' overall average climbed to a conference-best .488.  Alyssa Villalpando added two hits and Kierra Willis a double. Arizona improved to 21-6, and the four teams Fresno State faced on Saturday and Sunday are now a combined 82-14 on the year.

Rutgers 9, New Mexico 6 - The Lobos tried to rally from a big deficit, but ultimately couldn't come back in a game that went only six innings due to a "drop dead" time rule.  The game ended in the top of the seventh but reverted to the sixth inning per NCAA regulations.  After Rutgers scored two runs in the first, the Scarlet Knights pushed five across in the top of the second to go in front 7-1.  A trio of Rutgers players had multiple hit games and Lauren Soles, who went just two-thirds of an inning, ended up being the losing pitcher for UNM.  As the Lobos battled back, they got a 4-for-4 performance from Shelby Franc.  Michala Erickson had a pair of hits, including a home run, with three RBI.  Rutgers improved to 6-6 with the win.  New Mexico went 2-2 in its Lobo Classic and is now 12-9 on the season.

UNLV 6, UC Santa Barbara 3 - The Rebels won their seventh consecutive home game -- and fourth in a row at home this weekend -- by taking care of the slumping Gauchos, who've won just six of 25 games this season.  UCSB committed four errors leading to five unearned runs in a game where both teams struggled defensively at times.  Eight of the nine runs scored were unearned.  UNLV was out-hit nine to seven, but the Rebels won in large part because a majority of their hits (4 of the 7) went for doubles.  Garie Blando started the Rebels' half of the first inning by reaching on a MeShalon Moore error, which proved to be pivotal in a 4-run inning that set the tone for the entire game.

Colorado State 6, Drake 4 - Despite being out-hit 11 to seven, the Rams scored the game's final four runs to pick up the win in Fort Collins over the Bulldogs of the Missouri Valley Conference.  Drake led 4-2 before CSU tied it with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second.  Colorado State took the lead for good in the fourth on a 2-run single by Shae Rodriguez.  Drake (9-10) stranded 12 base runners and left the bases loaded in both the sixth and seventh innings with the tying runs in scoring position both times.  Holly Reinke allowed all 11 hits in a complete-game win.

Montana 5, Utah State 3 - Delene Colburn hit a 2-run home run off Aggies pitcher Noelle Johnson to snap a tie in the sixth inning as Montana picked up its fourth win as an NCAA Division I softball program.  Former Boise State pitcher Kenzie Cole, now with the Griz of Montana, was the winning pitcher, throwing 4 1/3 innings and allowing two hits and a run.  Utah State hit two homers in the game.  One came from Paxton Provost and the other from Alleyah Armendariz.  Montana is 4-15 on the season and will play in the Fresno State Classic next week.

Nevada 9, Idaho State 8 (8 innings) - The Wolf Pack avoided an embarrassing, 3-game home sweep to the Bengals with a walk-off win in extra innings.  Nevada's Karley Hopkins hit a triple with one out in the bottom of the eighth after Idaho State failed to score in the top of the inning.  Following a walk, Jasmine Jenkins singled through the left side, scoring Hopkins with the game-winner.  Nevada was up 5-2 early in this one, but it became a wild back-and-forth game as Idaho State scored six consecutive runs to surge in front 8-5.  Nevada tied it with three in the bottom of the sixth.  Jenkins finished with two hits and three RBI, while Megan Sweet hit a home run.  Nevada, which was swept at home in a doubleheader Saturday by the Bengals, moved to 5-18 on the season.  Idaho State dropped to 11-11.

San Diego State 6, Long Beach State 2 - In Fullerton, the Aztecs had three of their eight hits go out of the park for home runs in a win over the suddenly reeling 49ers.  Sydnee Cable, Taylor Stewart and Lorena Bauer all went deep with homers in a game where both teams had eight hits.  SDSU starter Erica Romero escaped multiple jams against Long Beach State, which lost its sixth consecutive game and dropped to 10-16 on the season.

Weber State 9, Utah State 1 (6 innings) - Utah State pitcher Alleyah Armendariz didn't make it out of the second inning against the Wildcats as Weber State run-ruled the Aggies in Boise.  Five of the Wildcats' 10 hits went for extra bases, with a pair of home runs and three doubles.  Utah State's run scored via a dropped fly ball in left field by Weber State. 

Weber State 19, Boise State 10 (9 innings) - In Boise, the host Broncos fell victim to an 11-run uprising by the Wildcats in the top of the ninth inning.  The score was tied 8-8 in the ninth when Boise State had all kinds of trouble.  The Broncos committed three errors in the frame and allowed four hits, the biggest of which was a grand slam against pitcher Nicole Wilson.  Weber State moved to 12-8 on the year.

San Diego St. 9, Cal State Fullerton 3 - In an odd, final game of the Judi Garman Classic late Sunday, the Aztecs beat the Titans, who have fallen on difficult times of late.  Cal State Fullerton lost for the 10th in its last 17 games and gave up at least nine runs for the fourth time in five days.  Erica Romero went the distance, scattering eight hits for San Diego State.  The Titans started pitcher Jasmine Antunez (1-3), who went 2 2/3 innings and took the loss, allowing just two runs on three hits.  Later, Fullerton handed pitching duties to freshman Brooke Clemetson, who had never pitched as a collegian and had been exclusively used as a pinch runner prior to this game.  Still later, the Titans went to pitcher Cerissa Rivera, who had made just one previous appearance in 2015.  SDSU thrived with this sort of "pitching by committee" gift, and got home runs from Lorena Bauer and Sydnee Cable along the way.  The Aztecs had 12 hits to eight for the Titans.

Colorado State-Valparaiso suspended - This one was tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning when suspended by darkness in Fort Collins.  It will resume Monday prior to a regularly-scheduled game between the teams.